Fredís No Clue Movie Review

Directed by Spike Jonze

    Adaptation, is a movie from the same creative minds that brought us that trippy film Being John Malkovich.  Directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kauffman (and his alter ego or brother Donald Kauffman?), it doesnít disappoint those of us who loved the quirkiness of their last endeavor.  Adaptation, is a movie about a writer adapting a book for the screen.  The book in this film, is ďThe Orchid ThiefĒ by Susan Orlean.  The movie is credited as being adapted from that same book and Orlean (played by Meryl Streep) as well as her subject of her nonfiction book, John LaRoche (played by Chris Cooper), appear as characters in the film.  Kauffman, also appears as a character in the film and Nicolas Cage plays him.  Are you still with me?  The film even though adapted from a book, is a piece of original art all its own. 

    The movie follows Kauffman through the arduous process of finding a good way to adapt the book into a screenplay.  Heís looking for an original way to present the film.  He wants to find the essence of the book if you will.  In this process, he examines his own life, Orleanís life, LaRocheís life, and quite possibly even your very own as your watching it.  For me, the movie was more about finding a passion in your life and figuring out what makes you tick.  Understanding that in life, we all have choices and itís the choices you make, as well as, the reasons behind those choices, that make up the pieces of your life.  Itís also about finding happiness.  I found myself relating in a lot of ways to Charlie Kauffman while I was watching the movie.  I felt like I made a lot of the same choices as he had in his life.  Maybe he follows through a little more on risk than myself, but wait, this review is getting a little too personal.  This movie will do that to you though. 

    Is this movie as much nonfiction as the book?  Who knows?  What I do know is this is one of the truly original inspired films of the last year.  It would vault into my top 10 list of the past year.  It gets in your head and explores around a little while youíre watching it.  Nicolas Cage plays a dual role as the self-doubting screenwriter Charlie Kauffman, and his brother Donald, who decides to become a screenwriter in the movie.  Donald is much more confident of himself than Charlie.  Personally, I saw them as two pieces of the same person.  A split personality if you will.  Not sure if I saw that the whole way though, or if that was something that came and went.  Cage manages to bring these two distinct performances to life, and just embodies them.  I wasnít sure if I was going to buy into Nicholas Cage being a bald, heavyset loser type of guy.  He did a great job and you quickly forget youíre watching a huge movie star.  Chris Cooper is brilliant and funny as John LaRoche.  He has a sensitivity thatís there throughout the film that allows you to feel for the character, even though he, at times, is brash and rude.  Meryl Streep plays Susan Orlean as a confused writer, looking for something but not sure what.  She learns throughout to just live life and Streep does a fantastic job of going through the journey. 

    Jonze once again delivers a film that is completely unconventional.  I would hazard to say that Adaptation is a tad more accessible to the masses than Being John Malkovich.  It doesnít sacrifice that for a maverick spirit and true originality.  Kauffmanís screenplay really shows his vulnerability and opens up his life to us, well supposedly.  I guess anything is truly possible.

    This movie made me think.  It made me look into my own life and examine some of the choices that Iíve made.  It had characters that I identified with.  It kept me riveted and interested throughout.  It entertained me in every sense of the word.  This is a film that I will truly appreciate for years to come.  I may not have understood every little bit of it, and at times, I found myself confused.  But it was extremely entertaining and I loved it.  Donít be scared of the intellectualness of it.  Just go, sit down, and have a good time.  You just might learn something about yourself.

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